Our Vineyards and Viticulture

Historically, Vinho Verde has always been densely populated because of the fertility of the land, resulting that the size of land per family would be very small. This distinctive characteristic is still true in our Territory in Monção and Melgaço, where the parcels of vineyards remain very small. These plots are therefore treated like gardens by the families that, other than grape-growing, have other professional occupations and take care of their vineyards at the end of the working day and on weekends. Our story is the story of one of these families that created lifelong partnerships with other families in the region —the story of one vineyard that is now a Territory.

Club of Producers

Our link with the community led us to create the Club of Producers, uniting all of our grape growers and motivating their focus on quality. All of these hands give a special and inimitable attribute of diversity to our wines.

Soalheiro is the first brand of Alvarinho in Melgaço. As our work focuses on this single variety, we need different dimensions of the grape to create different dimensions of wines. This is why the Club of Producers is so important for us, as this is the best way to promote biodiversity for the grapes. As a result, our wines come from varied clones of the Alvarinho varietal that improve the diversity of aromas and flavours. Our secret is the blend of diverse ways of producing Alvarinho grapes, in different soils and micro terroirs by different people that, in turn, amplify our knowledge and the potential of this grape.

More than anything, however, the concept of the Club of Producers is based on the socio-economic sustainability of the region. Through this investment, our objective is to ensure that the families that represent the region, carrying and transmitting its culture and traditions, maintain a strong connection with their own lands. The Club of Producers also allows us to supervise our member families as they practice sustainable viticulture – a necessary component of our quality requirements.

Own organic vineyards

In 2006 we had all of our vineyards certified as organic/biological agriculture. This was a pioneering initiation in our region. It is exclusively the fruit from these vines that we use to produce Soalheiro Terramatter and Soalheiro Nature. To this day, our winegrowing practices promote environmental sustainability and support biodiversity in our viticultural ecosystems, not only in our own vineyards but also spreading the same spirit to our producers’ club. In 2021 we will take another big step, moving forward with the knowledge we already have and converting to biodynamic concepts.

Training systems

In Monção and Melgaço we have three main systems of training our vineyards. The descending training system has the leaves and vegetation of the grapevine facing downwards. This provides shelter for the grape bunches, only allowing for half exposure to the sun. The ascending training system, on the other hand, features an ascending wall of vegetation, finding the bunches with full sun exposure. The grapevines in the “Ramada” style (the rarest variation) have the leaves and vegetation laid out horizontally, leaving the bunches in complete shade.


Descending Training System

80% of our vines are trained in a descending system – a well-adapted system introduced in the Alvarinho region. 50% of the Loureiro (blended with Alvarinho in the Soalheiro ALLO) comes from this training system and from the Vinho Verde region with its Atlantic influence, similar to the Lima Valley. We blend the grapes from this training system with the fruit harvested from vines trained in the ascending system. This leaves great fruit intensity and the desired touch of minerality. In this system, the grapes are only partially exposed to the sun, which helps to preserve their full aromatic profile and achieve a perfect balance between acidity, flavour, and moderate alcohol levels.


Ascending Training System

19% of the vineyards are trained in an ascending system – this is a system that is used extensively all over the world. It exists in different variations (Royat, Sylvoz, Guyot, Bilateral, etc.) and provides the grapes with plenty of sun exposure while reducing the acidity and aromas. These grapes are used for blending and producing wines such as the Soalheiro Reserva, where aromatic intensity is of less importance. The Vinhão grape variety used in the Soalheiro Oppaco and the Touriga Nacional variety used in the Brut Rosé originate from our high-trained vines. 50% of the Loureiro used in blends with Alvarinho (Soalheiro ALLO) stems from this system. We blend the grapes from these high-trained vines with those of the low-trained vines to achieve a better balance of flavours and low alcohol levels.


“Ramada” or “Pergola” (also called “Parreira” in Spain) Training System

1% of the vines are trained according to this system, which is frequently used in Galicia for the production of Alvarinho wines. In this system, the grapes have the lowest direct exposure to the sun, providing a highly intense aromatic profile as well as very high acidity levels at harvest. Usually, the wines created from these grapes undergo malolactic fermentation which reduces the acidity yet maintains the aromatic intensity on the palate. At Soalheiro, these grapes are used for blending and for various wines requiring a malolactic profile.